Two weeks ago, I wrote a post titled An Open Letter To Those Who “Speak The Truth In Love”. Saying it was a hit is an understatement; right now, it is the second most viewed post on The Progressive Redneck. It received rave reviews and glowing comments, mostly on Facebook since I can’t seem to get people to comment on the actual post (hint, hint, people). Well, I say “rave reviews and glowing comments”; one person begged to differ with me about this “speaking the truth in love” thing. The person’s Disqus handle is Randy and he had several issues with what I said, which we’ll get to in a minute. But, after reading Randy’s comment a couple of times, I think we see this in fundamentally different ways. He believes that any relationship other than a heterosexual one is sinful while I, on the other hand, believe that love between consenting adults is born of God and should be celebrated. Because of that, I have my doubts that we’ll agree on this subject. But, the comment was respectful and well-reasoned and deserves a respectful and well-reasoned response. We’ll have to wait see if that actually happens.
I suppose that first we should look at the “sin” aspect of the discussion. Randy says that “The bible is clear on sin” and if he meant the Bible is clear that sin is a bad thing, I’ll agree. But, the Bible is less clear on what sin actually is because a lot of things that were sins 2000+ years ago are no longer taboo today, while things that were cool back then are currently major transgressions. For example, wearing two different types of cloth, eating shellfish, planting two different crops in one field and trimming your beard were all considered sins while slavery, Levirate marriage and the general subjugation of women were either condoned or required by the law. So, while the Bible may be “clear” on a lot of things, sin isn’t one of them
Next, he says “Jesus did speak to the family and to sexual immorality” and cites Matthew 19:3-12 to back that up. And, he’s correct: Jesus did indeed talk about the family and sexual immorality on numerous occasions. But, when Jesus talked about sexual immorality, it was in the context of adultery, not homosexuality. As I said in the original post, Jesus never said a word about LGBTQ issues and the cited passage (oft-quoted as a response to that point) backs me up because it’s about marriage (which was solely the province of heterosexual couples in those days) and not the morality of same-sex relationships. Making it about anything else is a stretch at best.
Next, we come to the Apostle Paul. Here, Randy tells us that “the homosexual lifestyle” wasn’t a factor in Jewish culture, but it was in the Gentile world which is why Paul addressed it directly. I suppose that depends on what he meant by “factor”. If he’s saying it was there but wasn’t a big deal, I could get on board with that. If he meant it didn’t exist…, well, that’s a harder sell. The fact that it is addressed by both Paul (apostle to the gentiles) and the Jewish writers of the Torah tells me it was present in both cultures. But, here’s the thing: in both instances, scholars are now telling us those references were in the context of worship, not relationships. In other words, these scriptures refer to the worship of pagan gods, not who people choose to make a life with.
Next up, he says ” But to the one who claims to believe in God, Has embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior and believes the scripture to be the complete and infallible word of God will be without excuse” which seems to say that because I don’t agree with him, I am one of those people James is talking about. That’s odd, because the scripture quoted refers to people bragging about their wealth and power, not ignoring the sin of others.
Randy goes on to say “I have nothing but love for my friends and family…”, which is all well and good, but how do you think those friends and family members feel when they hear a person who claims to love them say that something at the very essence of their being is a sin, an abomination, a stench in the nostrils of the God who created them that way? I’m pretty sure it isn’t loved.
Maybe Randy’s right; maybe there is sin involved here. But, what if it’s not the one you think?